She Never Left My Side
Push…Puuush!” I called out to my friend, but it appeared that there was no use in trying anymore. My car was stuck in the mud, and I was on a double date. I was just 16 years old, and I wanted to make a good impression on my pretty and intelligent date. However, hearing the motor rev with the car still stuck in the mud did not earn brownie points for my friend or me in the eyes of our dates.
We continued to push and push, but there was no getting my car “unstuck” from the mud. Sharon, my date, was revving the car’s engine while Jeff and I were pushing and pushing. Finally, I said, “Enough!” Embarrassed, I approached Sharon as she sat behind the wheel of my mother’s red station wagon. Before I could speak I noticed the gear on the car: It was set on neutral!”
I set the gear to “drive,” instructed Sharon to wait until I gave her the signal to press down on the accelerator, and then went back to help Jeff push the car out of the mud.
That was our first date. Even though I got mud on my slacks, I had love in my heart. I was “stung” by the Love Bug.
Sharon and I dated seriously throughout high school. I went away to college as Sharon was finishing her senior year in high school. Our love, which was blooming, was only matched in size by our long-distance telephone bills.
The next year, Sharon joined me at the University of Texas. We were so happy. We thought we were on top of the world. We thought our lives were set. That was true until that eventful evening when in a split second our lives changed forever.
On February 18, 1981, we were studying at the library of the University. It was late, and Sharon told me that she had to return to her dormitory to go to sleep. We slid into my car and headed toward her dorm, but, unfortunately, my gas gauge was registering “empty.” I pulled into a nearby convenience store, borrowed $2 from Sharon, and walked into the store to pay for the gas.
Things do not always work out as one plans them. Unfortunately, the store was in the midst of a robbery, and one of the thieves forced me into the cooler. He followed me, pushed me to the floor, and calmly shot me in the back of the head-execution-style! The story does not end there. Yes, the criminal thought I was dead, thus eliminating any witness to the crime. However, when the thieves left the store, I still had a faint pulse.
Very few people believed I would remain alive much longer. That is why the police transferred my case to the Homicide division. That is also why the neurosurgeon when he was awakened at his home to see me at the hospital, came quickly but returned home, as he believed an operation would be futile.
However, when the doctor returned to the hospital in the morning, he was shocked to see that I was still alive. He told my parents that an operation was necessary, but he added that he would be surprised if I survived the surgery.
I fooled all of the medical experts and survived the surgery. However, the surgeon warned my parents that even though I was still breathing, I would probably never be able to communicate with anyone or understand anyone who was attempting to communicate with me. Basically, the surgeon stated, I would be “a vegetable.”
Hearing those words, my father told Sharon, “Get on with your life.”
Sharon quickly replied, “Mike is my life.”
Even though we were not yet married, Sharon believed in the vows, “in sickness and in health.” She dropped out of college for one semester to be with me at the Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston where I was eventually transferred. Sharon was spending her time with her “drooling boyfriend in the hospital” while other college freshmen were spending their time at parties.
Eventually, Sharon returned to Austin to continue her college education. Once again we had enormous phone bills. My goal was to also return to Austin, to the University of Texas, to be with Sharon. Eighteen months after no one thought I would survive, I accomplished that goal. One of the primary reasons was … Sharon, my love, who refused to give up or give in.
Four years after returning to college, I graduated. For me, that meant I could finally propose to Sharon, my light at the end of the dark tunnel. She was the one who would always encourage me to look forward and not to focus on the past.
On a beautiful day in May, Sharon and I exchanged vows and were married. We were meant to be together. We had dated for nine long and eventful years, but I realized at the wedding that it was worth everything. Sharon was truly my soul mate.
We have been married for many years and we have a beautiful daughter, Shawn. We have experienced so much-some bad, but more, much more, good. This is not just a “love letter” to my wife, but the story of a girl’s overcoming everyone’s “rational” thoughts to stay behind with her critically injured boyfriend. To me, it shows what kind of woman Sharon is–a beauty inside and out. Further, it shows the lesson of not giving up on one’s dreams. I give Sharon all the credit for my recovery – not me. I don’t know where I would be without her – definitely not where I am today.
Michael Jordan Segal, who defied all odds after being shot in the head, is a husband, father, social worker, freelance author, and inspirational speaker, sharing his recipe for happiness, recovery and success before conferences and businesses.
By Michael Segal
Meditation: Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. – Song of Solomon 8:7
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!